Playing devil’s advocate helps you test a single, strongly-held view or assumption by building an argument for alternative explanations.
Use this to...
- Test the validity of your current thinking.
- Challenge consensus and assumptions.
- Spot faulty logic.
- Reveal an alternative hypothesis.
Tool up! Whether going solo, remote or in a face-to-face meeting, use stickies to track your thinking.
Watch out for...
Pack mentality. When a team puts its heart and soul into a job sometimes a strong mindset or bias can set in, which means contradictory evidence is more likely to be ignored.
Don’t lose your head! Devil’s Advocacy is great at highlighting weakness in an argument, but that doesn’t always mean the argument itself is flawed.
- Thinking about your business theme, agree a shared understanding of current thinking. Write down a description of your shared understanding.
- Write down all the key assumptions about your shared understanding.
List the assumptions on the notepad.
- Select the assumptions that feel susceptible to challenge.
Tick the assumptions that can be challenged.
- Discuss any data that contradicts your assumptions.
Add a summary of the data below each assumption that can be challenged.
- What questions do you need to ask to fill any gaps in understanding?
Capture the questions that are new to your organization.